(Above) Image courtesy of Sophie Iremonger(2012).

Gary Farrelly interviews Berlin based visual artist Sophie Iremonger. Iremonger is visiting the autonomous coastal city state of Neustern for the inauguration of a public square baring her name. She is being so commemorated by the Neusterner authorities for her beautiful,radical and profoundly unique cultural practice. Old friends Farrelly and Iremonger meet for drinks and quick fire questioning at a specially arranged cocktail affair in Neustern Public Zoo [The interviewee requested the location]. The two are lubricating their truth glads this evening with Enola Gaye cocktails: Gin mixed with a little water and a fizzing vitimin c tablet that must be bright orange in colour.

(Above) SOPHIE IREMONGER(2012), photographer : Scott Elliott

GARY FARRELLY: What do you do?
SOPHIE IREMONGER: At the moment,I make paintings of erotic landscapes.

GF: Why should New Obsessive's readers care?
SI: Three reasons. 1:In a world where it seems most art is there to belittle you and make you feel stupid, I am open to sharing a pictorial,sensual and understandable story with the viewer using COLOUR,SEX and MEANING. 2: I am engaged with the process of making and selling art in a way that removes my arrogance and egotism from the process. I do this by making my work affordable. I do this by approaching my art making as if it is any other job. 3: I have disengaged myself from the heavy brown junk of old-man oil painting- it has no meaning to me, my neon outsider veiwpoint has not been seen before and presents a truly original voice.

GF: You socialize and collaborate with other artists and performers in Berlin, your tribe! Among tribesmen are musicians Mary Ocher and Alexander as well as visual artists Stevie Handley and Christina Sunbeam Lobotomy. Other than personality and friendship – what unifies this group?
SI: There is no unity to the group. There is no group. there is love and mutual support, and alot of cookery.

GF: You have featured in several Mary Ocher videos. Is there a growing performative aspect of your practice?
SI: There is a shrinking performative aspect. I have no interest in it except when it helps my friends.

GF: Your paintings are characterized by images of the animal kindom, sexuality and the erotic. The latter two can be observed at close quarters in Berlin. Where do you go to source images of wild beasts?
SI: The internet, books,wild life videos, from wastelands, from collecting plants, the images of beasts seem burned on my brain from birth.

GF: I see your paintings as advocating an alternative moral framework that lies somewhere between degeneracy and pack animal dynamics. Do you agree? How does this manifest in your daily operations?
SI: I think everything is basically Amoral and that we just pretend to be moral for various reasons. Moral is just what works within the framework of a particular situation at a particular time. The mountain does not care. The fang does not care.This not caring excites me.

(Above) Image courtesy of Sophie Iremonger(2012).

Professionally: When will you know you are successful? Is the destination as important as the journey?
SI: Success and failiure are 2 faces on the same coin. I will not have other peoples views on whether I am a success or failiure inflicted on me.The journey has prescedence. I just want to keep making and keep getting paid. I just want to keep growing like a rapacious weed. I am developing. I will always be a work in progress.

GF: Dublin did not have much to offer you. Berlin seems to work. Are you encamped there forever?
SI: there is no forever.

GF: A certain type of person is drawn to my work: allot of architects, engineers, libertarians and old school eccentrics. Who gravitates to the work of Sophie Iremonger?
SI: Enviromental engineers and perverts. No not really, those who GET it!

GF: Describe Sophie Iremonger aged 80?
SI: Rotting away wearing a helmet with a paintbrush attached to it, shouting at interns. Being wheeled to lectures I do not understand by well meaning homosexuals. Just like now really.

GF: Do you believe in god?
SI: Yes.

GF: Are you political?
SI: One cant help but have a point of view.

GF: Do you have faith in mankind?
SI: In a few specimens.

GF: Fashion is important to Sophie Iremonger. Your style is somewhere between power dressing, tranny sensibility and classic elegance. What do you wear when you scrub the floor? How will you be dressed when layed our in your coffin on end day?
SI: I spend most of the day wearing hideous snakeskin trousers and a painty jumper, I assume I will be buried in hideous snakeskin trousers and a painty jumper.

GF: You adore animals but have no pets. Why? And what would make an ideal domestic animal for Sophie Iremonger?
SI: I do not adore animals. I do not adore people. I am simply engaged with their BEINGNESS. I would like to be the pet of a very rich old lady.

Gary Farrelly, Neustern.

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